Colossians 3:3

The Hidden Life of a Believer

 

Introduction:

1. Contemplating the cross, resurrection, and ascension, the Lord said, “In a little while, the world seeth Me no more” (John 14:19)

2. Christ’s ascension into heaven caused Him to be “hidden” from the world.

3. Our new life is hidden with Christ in God.

4. Before we can enjoy this hidden, secret life of intimate fellowship and communion with Christ, (something unknown and unknowable to the world) we must first reckon ourselves to be dead to the world and risen with Christ.

DEAD TO THE WORLD AND HIDDEN FROM THE WORLD

A. For Ye are Dead

1. Lit. = For you died.

a. It speaks of a past event, not a present state.

b. It highlights the fact that at some point in the past (the moment of saving faith) they died with Christ. (Col. 2:20)

c. Their old man was crucified with Christ.

d. This is NOT a command to die to self… or to crucify the old man. Rather, it is a statement of fact. We died.

e. It is not something we are to do. It is something we are to believe.

2. This death severs us from our past worldly life.

a. Col. 2:11 – we were cut off from dominion to the sins of the flesh… and from our old man.

b. Col. 2:20-22 – death severed us from our past religious life… subject to human ordinances and traditions… the commandments and doctrines of men… rudiments of the world.

3. FOR: our death with Christ is given as the REASON that we are to think on things above and to seek things above.

a. We are to think on things above because:
• We died to this world (vs. 3a) and we are raised up in heaven with Christ (vs. 1).
• we have been cut off from things below!
• This world is no longer our home… heaven is.
• We died to this world and the things of this world but are alive in an entirely new realm: above, where Christ is seated. That’s our new home.
• That’s where our new life is—hidden with Christ in God.

4. Because the believer DIED to the world, his new life is hidden from the world. (Gal. 6:14; Col. 2:20) A dead man is buried and hidden from sight.

a. Dead to our former lifestyle (I Pet. 4:3-4; Eph. 2:1-6)
• You are literally hidden from this crowd!
• You’re no longer at the barrooms or the drunken parties.
• Our life in the world as we were ended. Our old friends understand this. The person they once knew, they know no more!
• They think it “strange” (word for foreign)… that we are no longer the same… that we no longer run around with them…
• It doesn’t mean you have no contact with your old friends, but it does mean that you’re hidden from them in that old context.
• Dead to our old habits (I Cor. 6:9-11) “such WERE some of you, but now ye are washed…”

b. Dead to our earthly relationships (Matt. 10:35-37)
• Faith in Christ results in a new life, which is hidden away with Christ… hidden from people of the world.
• Sometimes there can be friction between one whose life is on earth and one whose life is hidden away in God.
• They have two different goals, desires, lifestyles, pursuits, etc…
• The fact that we love the Lord MORE than we love them can be hurtful to them… and puzzling.
• And sometimes we are forced to choose between pleasing them and pleasing the Lord. Putting Christ and spiritual things above our earthly family can cause friction.
• Matt. 12:47-50 – Jesus was told that his mother and family wanted to speak to Him. His response: “Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?… For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
• The believer whose life is in heaven is HIDDEN even from his earthly family… if they do not know Christ.
• As important as our earthly families are, there is something MORE important: our new life hidden with Christ in God.

c. Dead to the world’s affections (John 15:18-19)
• The one whose life is hidden with Christ in God lives a life foreign to the folks of this world.
• They know that something changed and often they will hate us for it!
• They can recognize that something higher has captured our minds and hearts… and that we are no longer one of “them.”
• Therefore the world hates us… because our life here ended and we have a new life that they cannot fathom.
• We know we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren… brothers and sisters in Christ! (I John 3:14) Our new love for a new family causes friction with our earthly families at times.

d. Dead to the things of the world
• I John 2:15 – the Spirit filled believer is told to LOVE NOT the things of the world.
• What could be more foreign to worldlings who love the world! They cannot imagine how anything could be more important or more valuable than their earthly gold, toys, and trinkets.
• Matt. 6:19-21 – The believer will spend his earthly treasures in order to store true treasures in heaven.
• The Spirit filled believer will hold the things of earth loosely and will use them for God’s glory rather than hoard them for self.
• This too is absolutely foreign to the earth dwellers.
• To folks in the world, life consists in the things which they possess… even though Jesus said, a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”
• They cannot fathom a man whose life consists of something OTHER THAN things of the world: possessions, power, prestige, position…

e. John 17:16 – Jesus said of His disciples: they are not of the world even as I am not of the world.
• As far as the world is concerned, the Spirit filled believer may live IN the world, but we are no longer one OF them.
• We are foreigners… strangers… even enemies at times… an unknown commodity… even a threat.
• When our light shines, it makes them look bad…
• Light shines in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not.
• The oil that keeps our lamps shinning is HIDDEN from them.

5. If any man be IN Christ, he is a new creature… old things are passed away… (II Cor. 5:17)

a. This does not mean that we cloister ourselves away from the world… or retreat to a monastery, or withdraw from society… as some cults have mistakenly done.

b. That’s NOT what hidden with Christ in God means!

c. But for the one who is a new creation with new life in Christ… our former relationship to the world changed. In fact, it ENDED. It passed away.

d. We died to this old world and its ways… and have been raised up into heavenly places in Christ.

e. Now, our new life is hidden away from the world… hidden with Christ in God.

RISEN WITH CHRIST AND HIDDEN WITH CHRIST IN GOD

A. Hidden

1. Our old life is over, and our new life is hidden because we are IN Christ.

2. Christ is ascended and seated at the right hand of the Father… and in that position Christ is hidden from the world… unseen and unknown by the world.

a. The world hated Christ. The world persecuted Him throughout His earthly ministry, and ultimately, put Him to torturous and humiliating death of the cross.

b. But He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven and is seated at the Father’s right hand.

c. There, He is out of view of the world. Hidden from their sight… and out of their reach…

d. The world will never scourge Him again. They will never spit upon Him again. They will never pull out His beard again. They will never nail Him to a cross again.

e. He is hidden from their sight and touch… in the safety of the courts heaven…

f. And He is seated in the place of absolute divine power and authority.

g. And our life is hidden with Him where He is.

3. Hidden: perfect:

a. Our life was hidden at a point in the past (Spirit baptism).

b. This “hiding” of the life of the believer, which began in the past, is ongoing.

c. We continue to be hidden away in God.

B. Hidden with Christ in God

1. The believer’s life is hidden with Christ in God because the believer was RAISED UP with Christ (Col. 3:1).

a. Christ Himself is safely hidden away from the world that hated Him and crucified Him.

b. Because we are in Christ, we too are in a position where we are hidden from the sight and touch of the world.

c. Our old life on earth ended abruptly. Our new life is now sourced in heaven… and is not able to be seen or understood by men of the earth.

d. As Paul said in Gal. 2:20 – “I am crucified, nevertheless I live.” This new, resurrection life of the believer is our REAL spiritual life, but is hidden.

2. Hidden away in heaven at the Father’s right hand, the believer is also in a position of safety, security and power.

a. We are seated with Christ in heavenly places… at the Father’s right hand… the place of divine POWER!

b. From that heavenly position, we have available to us the resurrection power of God!

c. While we look at our lives from earth’s perspective, we are in a position of frailty and weakness… and often seem to be trampled upon by the world.

d. When we look at lives from the heavenly perspective, we are safe as can be! At the Father’s right hand! In fact we are IN the hands of the Father and no man can pluck us from His hand!

3. What a contrast between these two worlds!

a. Down here we face the world’s wrath, cruelty, and temptations

b. But up there, we experience God’s love, presence, and power.

c. Nothing down here can separate us from the love of God up there! (Rom. 8:35-39) Not even the principalities and powers can touch us at the Father’s right hand. We have been raised up with Christ ABOVE all principalities and powers!

d. Our lives look quite tentative and tenuous down here… but are as safe as can be up there.

e. Our lives may appear to be on the brink of destruction down here, but there is no danger up there… where our REAL LIFE IS!

f. The storms of life may beat against our old body of flesh upon the earth, but our soul, head, and heart can enter into the rest and bliss of heaven… hidden away safely in heaven with Christ in God!

g. “No ill can harm me; no foe alarm me for He keeps both day and night; safe am I… safe am I… in the hollow of His hand.”

h. “Things that once were wild alarms cannot now disturb my rest!”

i. Heb. 6:20 – here the illustration of our safety is that our souls have been ANCHORED to the One who ascended into heaven and has entered within the veil into the very Holy of Holies in heaven: seated at the right hand of the Father’s throne!
• We are anchored to one who is our forerunner… a pioneer—who has paved the way for us to follow one day BODILY.
• Positionally, we are there already!
• But until we actually arrive, we are anchored to the Rock of Ages HIDDEN away, within the veil.
• We are hidden away with Christ in God… hidden away in the very Holy of Holies in heaven!

4. God sees us in the very courts of heaven… and “Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God.” (Psalm 92:13)

a. It is a place of safety… a sanctuary where our foes cannot touch us… a place near to the Father… near to the heart of God… a place of resurrection power… a place of spiritual growth… a place where God’s people flourish in the heavenly courts of God…

b. Why would anyone want to leave that place?

5. It is FROM that position of safety, security, and power, hidden away from the world that we experience communion with Christ… FROM WHICH fruit is borne down here on earth!

a. From that position, we become fully engaged in life down here on earth.

b. With out lives hidden away up there… our mind and heart dwelling with Christ where He is… THEN we are able to PROPERLY serve Him on earth!

c. When the mind and heart is in sync with Christ the Head, the Body will function on earth according to God’s will.

d. Not every kind of service that believers do on earth arises from this type of a relationship.

e. MUCH of what is accomplished in the name of Christ arises from the personal ambitions of men… from the flesh… from the desire for empire building… for denominational devotion… the traditions of men… and not necessarily after Christ!

C. Our Resurrected LIVES Are Hidden From the World

1. Our salvation is hidden from the world. (John 3:8)

a. Regeneration is a mystery… unobserved… unseen by the world.

b. They can see the EFFECTS of it in a person’s life… but they cannot see or understand what really happened.

c. The person who has experienced regeneration (born again) is also an enigma to the world. We are a mystery to the world. Everything about our spiritual lives is foreign.

d. The world will never understand what makes us tick. (I Cor. 2:14-15 – a spiritual man is judged of no man on earth.)

e. The world can see religion. It can talk religion. It can understand religion. But it will NEVER understand regeneration or the one who has been born again.

2. Our heavenly thinking is incomprehensible to the world. (I John 4:5-6)

a. John is contrasting the false teachers (them) with themselves, the true apostles and the believers to whom they write. (we)

b. THEY are of the world.
• They (the unsaved false teachers) are natural men who know ONLY the natural realm. This world is their home and is where their hearts are.
• These men are NOT dead to the world. Nor have they been raised up. Nor are their lives hidden away in God. Their lives are in and of the world.
• They speak the world’s language and the world hears and understands them. The world responds to them.
• They seem to do well in the world and gather large followings… because the world understands their language.
• But they CANNOT know the things of God for they are spiritually discerned. Spiritual things are foolish to them.

c. We are of God.
• In contrast, there is the WE (the apostles).
• We know God and His Word. We speak God’s language.
• Those who belong to God… (true believers) those whose real lives are hidden away with Christ will hear us and respond to the message of Christ.
• Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice and they follow Me.”

d. Our lives… our conversations… our mindsets… and our thinking are all FOREIGN to the world.
• They will not and cannot grasp it.
• And it is not because it is too intellectual. It is because it is sourced in heaven… a realm foreign to them.
• We speak a language they cannot possibly understand.
• The things that mean the MOST to a believer cannot possibly be communicated to one who dwells upon the earth.

3. Our source of strength is unknown to the world. (Eph. 3:16-17)

a. God allows believers to experience the very same tragedies in life that our unsaved neighbors face… and for a purpose.

b. God’s purpose is that as we go through a trial or tragedy, we will manifest the indwelling life of Christ to those around us!

c. God’s purpose is that we would learn to lean upon Him… and that the strength of the Lord will sustain us… comfort us… enable us to persevere… endure…

d. It is the indwelling life of Christ… which is sourced from heaven… the place of divine power… that enables the believer to face such trials with poise, grace, and even joyfulness!

e. The world understands well the strength that comes from Jack Daniels or Valium, but not from Jesus Christ.

f. The world understands strength that comes from friends and family… but not the strength that comes from God alone…

g. Our life is hidden above—and strengthened from within by the invisible Spirit… all of which is hidden from the world.

h. Our new life is HIDDEN from them. They know NOTHING of Christ… our Rock… our mighty Fortress… our Strength…

i. That which empowers, strengthens, and enables the believer to endure suffering in this life is HIDDEN from the world. They know nothing of that heavenly source of strength.

j. We are strengthened with all might according to His glorious power… which flows to us from the right hand of God… and our unsaved friends know nothing of this.

k. Our unseen source of strength puzzles them… but can also be used of the Lord to arouse their curiosity to ask a REASON of the hope that lies within us!

l. This is one of God’s main purposes in suffering.

4. Our source of satisfaction is puzzling to the world. The source of our comfort, satisfaction, contentment, and fulfillment are all HIDDEN to the world.

a. It is hidden because CHRIST is that Source, and He is ascended and hidden from their sight.

b. We are born from above and nourished from above… and the world knows nothing of any of it!

c. Such talk is foolishness to them! Such talk is foolishness to the ignorant and carnal believer too!

d. John 4:14 – But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

e. Psalm 23:1-3 – the Lord is in the business of restoring souls and leading us to the place of nourishment and satisfaction! (Green pastures and still waters!)

f. But our Good Shepherd is in heaven; hidden from the world… our source of satisfaction is thus hidden too.

g. Psalm 42:1-2 – The world cannot fathom such hunger and thirst for God. (“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God!”)

h. The world is scurrying around down here for some source of satisfaction and will never find it. It is hidden away in heaven!

i. It is OUR job to tell them not WHAT will bring satisfaction to their souls, but WHO! That’s the gospel message! Come unto Me and ye shall find REST for your souls!

j. One of the BEST ways we can point others to Christ is for us to EXPERIENCE this rest and peace of mind… and arouse their curiosity!

5. Our desires are perplexing to the world.

a. We dwell above. We seek things above. We think on things above. It is our home.

b. There we have fellowship with Christ, and there in that heavenly communion with Him through His Word and prayer we develop a taste for heavenly things.

c. And the more we develop a taste for heavenly things, the less appetite we have for the things of earth.

d. As we grow in grace, we continue to lose our appetite for the things of the earth.

e. We find nothing here to satisfy our new tastes in life.

f. And the REASON we are not worldly-minded is not because the preacher hammered us over the head saying, “Don’t do this and don’t do that.”

g. It is because we have learned that our life is no longer down here but is above. Our real life is hidden with Christ in God.

h. And Jesus said, “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me.”

i. The more time we spend in fellowship with Christ above, the more our hearts will beat as one with His… the more alike will be our desires.

j. As we spend time in fellowship with Christ above, more spiritual growth, fruit, and Christlike character will be manifested down here below in our earthly lives.

k. In one sense we LIVE up there in heaven. We are seated in heavenly places in Christ. Our lives are hidden with Christ in God up there. And that will RADICALLY transform our earthly lives!

l. And even if our outer man is perishing through age or disease, our inner man is being renewed!

m. And this is an enigma to the world. They don’t understand how such a thing can be. It is because our real life is hidden above.

6. Our motivation is hidden from the world.

a. Living for the glory of God is beyond their capacity to grasp.

b. The world shares Esau’s worldview: I want my porridge now! The world understands a man like Esau.

c. But they cannot understand one who is willing to sacrifice his porridge now for heavenly rewards.
• Our eternal values are alien to the world.
• Our faith (its depth) is bewildering to the world.
• Our blessed hope is mysterious to the world.

d. To the believer whose life is hidden with Christ in God, all things are become new… and completely UNLIKE that which motivates a man of the world.

7. And as puzzling as this is to the unsaved around us, it is the hidden life of a believer that draws men and women in the world to our Savior.

a. It is this very point that arouses curiosity in the minds of those around us to ask a reason of the hope that lies within us.

b. I Peter 3:15 – The hidden life with Christ is nourished, satisfied, joyous, poised, and at rest, even in the midst of turmoil or in a disintegrating body… and at the same time, full of spiritual fruit and Christlike character is the kind of life that attract others to our Savior.
• Some will be completely oblivious to the work of God in your life.
• Others will notice something different and will become curious.
• In others, that curiosity will develop into genuine interest in spiritual things.
• And in some of them, that spiritual interest will bring them to the place of believing on Christ personally and receiving Him as THEIR Savior!

c. That’s what a truly hidden life will do.
• It will function like salt… and make people thirsty.
• It will function like light and illuminate.
• It will arouse curiosity about what makes us tick… and will generate Holy Spirit motivated evangelism!

d. And isn’t that better than marching off in the flesh and knocking down doors which have NOT been opened by the Holy Spirit?

e. Remember, if the Head (hidden away in heaven) isn’t moving the Body, then we can do NOTHING without Him… nothing but make a big mess.

f. Christianity is quite simple. Walk… in the Spirit. Be LED of the Spirit… Dwell above… and Christ the Head will direct our steps on earth… for His glory.

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